Saturday, 22 June 2013

Agatha Christie "An Autobiography"

Agatha Christie talks as if she embroiders - she picks up thoroughly a thread, sometimes adorning her work by pearls of wisdom.
I found interesting her thoughts about women.  
Agatha Christie says that with the passage of time the situation of women has definitely changed for the worse. Women behaved foolishly - they began to yell, they were allowed to operate on an equal basis with men. Men  jumped gladly at the idea. Why to defend  wives? What's wrong if she would defend herself? If she wants it, she is welcome!
Agatha finds extremely frustrating that at the beginning women declared themselves wisely as the weaker sex, now they are caught up in a situation of primitive women  working all day in the fields, marching for miles in search of camel thorns suitable for fuel. Poor women marched with heavy household goods on their heads, while their brilliant males pranced proudly in front, free of baggage except deadly weapons to protect their women.
You have to do justice to the women of the Victorian era, Agatha says. Women of that epoque kept men in such order. Fragile, delicate, sensitive, Victorian's women were constantly in need of protection and care. Were they humiliated, crushed or had a slave lifestyle? The memories of Agatha Christie tell her something different. All friends of her  Grandma were very joyful, stubborn in their desires, self-willed, extremely well-read and well-informed about everything, they achieved success in all endeavors. They  admired incredibly their men. In daily life, women were doing everything they wanted, while pretending to fully recognize the superiority of men so that  their husbands do not lose face.

What else did I find interesting in the biography of Agatha? A lot of things. Her descriptions of how they dressed, of course. Her sartorial problems with a bathing suit and her collar a la Peter Pan. Glimpses of post-Victorian upbringing, such as Agatha's dialog with her Nanny:
- Remember, the Queen of Spain has no legs.
- And what does she have, Nanny?
- Limbs, my dear. You have to call them like that , hands and legs are limbs.

As noted rightly by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, her autobiography is"the history of a unique upbringing in a time long gone. It’s a portrait of a childhood and young womanhood that vanished with World War I.”

I liked very much Agatha's principle of not coming back to the places that are associated with very special memories. Never go back to the places where you were happy. As long as you do not do that, everything remains alive in your memory. If you find yourself there again, everything will not be the same and it will destroy your miracle.

I remembered Agatha's dialogue with a lady in the train.
"- Honey, - the lady said - never give in to the stomach. If there is something wrong, tell yourself: "Who is the boss here - me or my stomach?"
- But what can you do with it, really?
- Any stomach can be re-educated. Little by little. No matter what it is for. For example, I have endured badly eggs. Or I got quite ill from toasts with cheese. I started with a coffee spoon of soft-boiled eggs two or three times a week, then cooked them a little longer, and so on. And now I can eat as many eggs as I want. Same with toas

If you like descriptions of traveling you will find curious things on how people traveled hundred years ago, descriptions of Isfahan, Baghdad, Baku and many other places that Agatha saw. 

It is a good summer reading.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Milorad Pavic "The Inner Side of the Wind, or The Novel of Hero and Leander"

Do you like paintings by Marc Chagall?

Milorad Pavic is Marc Chagall in words. Both are geniuses.

The Inner Side of the Wind, or The Novel of Hero and Leander:

" dreams there is no past tense. Everything there reminds of something not experienced yet, some strange tomorrow, which started in advance. It reminds a down payment, taken from a future life, a future that happens thanks to the fact that the sleeper (isolated in the future tense) avoided the inevitable 'now'" 
"The future has one big advantage: in reality it looks always as you did not imagine it."

Last Love in Constantinople, A Tarot novel for divination:

 "You people do not know how to measure your days. You only measure their length and say that the day lasts 24 hours. And your days have sometimes more depth than length and this depth can be up to a month or even a year of the length of days."